In the open hearing before the Assembly Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions this week, three speakers raised objections that the report, “works too hard to find substitutes for Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” and replaces Scripture with metaphors from other sources. On the other side, two speakers said the report affirms the classic language of the Trinity while enriching our understanding.
The Trinity Working Group took seriously two issues: the “functional Unitarianism” of the church in which we just say God without reference to the Trinity, and the repeated and exclusive use of the “wonderful and important idiom, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” “We mediated between these two very real problems,” said Rebecca Prichard, moderator of the Working Group. “We explored Scripture and the deep well of tradition. We see the classic idiom of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” as foundational for all other confessional statements, with this classic language being the anchor.”
Scripture, the confessions, and the Directory for Worship are central to the report, but it also draws upon church fathers and mothers like Anselm of Canterbury, John Calvin, and Catherine of Siena. The paper addresses the doctrine in our church’s theology, worship and life in faith, including “The Doctrine of the Trinity as the Summary of the Gospel,” “An Inexhaustible Mystery,” “Naming the Triune God,” the doctrine and Christian practice and mission.